Selfies turn museums into playgrounds for a day

Actor John Leguizamo shoots a selfie at the "Walking with Dinosaurs" press event at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

Story highlights

  • January 21 is Museum Selfie Day, an Internet campaign encouraging people to visit museums
  • Art fans, curators and museum managers are joining in the hashtag fun
  • Tag your photos #MuseumSelfie to participate

(CNN)You're at a museum, looking at the delicate brush strokes of Cezanne and then someone walks in front of that priceless work of art and snaps a selfie.

The concept of taking a photo of yourself in front of an installation may seem a bit vain to some highbrow museum goers, but #MuseumSelfie Day has a noble purpose.
    The Internet event, which is celebrating its second year running, invites fans, curators, and museum managers to snap a photo of themselves in front of their favorite collections and share it on Instagram and Twitter.
    London mom Mar Dixon, who runs a website about museums, art and culture, came up with the campaign last January after visiting several museums with her young daughter.
    "My goal with my daughter when we go to the museum is to learn one new thing. It doesn't have to be about art though. It can be that the museum sells good carrot cake," she said from Paris Wednesday. "The hashtag is about the museum, but it's really about the people who are going to the museum. You took that picture, and you will remember that picture."
    She thought a one-day, crowd-sourced phenomenon would promote awareness of great collections of work being housed in national and regional museums.
    Museums worldwide are participating in the online campaign, and some are getting creative. The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, shared a photo that re-envisions Greek mythological figures Paris and Oenone, snapping a selfie together.
    Some of the most creative images happened to be from museums themselves.
    Dixon admits she has never worked a day at a museum and doesn't have a background in art. She's simply an advocate for museums, culture and art. She says she's overwhelmed by the positive response #MuseumSelfie is getting online.
    "Today is about being happy, having a good time and getting involved," Dixon said. "Even if one person goes to a museum today who never goes, just to be a part of this hashtag experience, isn't that great?"
    Here are some of our favorite #MuseumSelfies, but we do acknowledge that not all images are technically "selfies."

    #MuseumSelfie with She Man and @mcachicago

    A photo posted by Katherine Kohler (@katkohler) on